Derek Sherinian – Black Utopia

Reviewed: November 2003
Released: 2003, Insideout
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

There was a time when keyboards were the enemy of metal. That is clearly not the case today however there is till some hesitation in some circles to fully embrace the sound of the keyboard. Accordingly I’m going to do three quick reviews of three solo albums by three keyboardists, all on the Insideout label. They are Tomas Bodin, Ryo Okumoto and Derek Sherinian.

Probably the most well known and prolific keyboardist in metal comes back with his solo pure solo album. This follow up to 2001’s Inertia is heavier and faster and waaay more guitar based oddly enough.

Beautiful packaging, and an even more beautiful guest list this CD features some big talented guns including Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Billy Sheehan, Zakk Wylde, Al DiMeola.
It seems the time spent touring with Yngwie has rubbed off on what is by and large a very fast neo-classical metal album with killer performances from everyone involved.

The opening cut, a guitar solo called ‘The Fury’ has to be…just HAS to be…an semi-inside joke…a nod to moment in Yngwie’s past that (captured on cassette years ago, an recently come to light on the internet) has come to delight internet message boards across the globe and in a surprisingly short time been incorporate into the metal lexicon. Unleashing the fury indeed! This cut sets the pace and tone for eight songs of full-on metal.

This is indeed by far the most ‘metal’ of his projects he has worked on. That is not to say that the songs are not progressive but they have an edge to them that was not previously as evident. The title track breaks the 8.5 minute mark but for the most part this is a short-ish album at 45 minutes long.

The seven minute Egyptian tinged sons of Anu is broken into three parts and features some killer shredding guitar and is probably my favorite cut on the disc. Derek lets the music do the talking on this instrumental release that is an excellent showcase of metal talent and songwriting.


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Track Listing:
The Fury

The Sons of Anu
a) For The Glory of Enuki
b) Of The Ashes of UR
c) Return of The Nephilim

Nightmare Cinema

Stony Days


Axis Of Evil

Gypsy Moth

Sweet Lament

Derek Sherinian-Keyboards
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